We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Paul ends his first letter to the Thessalonians by giving them a number of things each Christian should do. First he tells us to respect those God puts in authority over the church. That does not mean they are always correct but they are due our respect. Always when anyone is teaching about God we should filter what we hear by what the Bible says. If we find incorrect teaching then we need to correct the teaching but with love and respect.
Paul then tells the church that they should admonish the idle. That is something we seem to have a problem with today. In fact we in the US seem to bring idleness to an art form. In some circle it seems they feel it unseemly to ask a person to work. They think it is an insult to ask people to work. Some may disagree with me but one of the things I admire about those who cross our borders illegally is that they come here to work. They are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Yes they broke our laws but I cannot help but think that if more Americans would get off their couches and go to work we just might not have such a problem with illegals. Of course too many think that manual labor is beneath them. One of the many things I admire about my son-in-law Jason is that while he and our daughter Tara lived with us and Jason was going to school to become a firefighter he took a job delivering pizzas just so he could bring in some money.
We are to encourage those new to the faith, help the weak and be patient with everyone. We are to do good not only for other Christians but to everyone. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in we are to rejoice. That means not just when things are going well but even in the hard times. What God has promised us is worthy of rejoicing. When someone mistreats us we are not to get back at them but return their evil with good. We are to abstain from evil and hold fast to the good that God gives us, the gift of our salvation.
Paul ends this letter with a blessing to the church that God would keep them safe and sanctified and that they be kept blameless until Jesus’ return. Then as always Paul asks for their prayers for him and those in his party. He instructs them to share this letter with the rest of the church.
If each of us would put into practice what Paul tells the church in Thessalonica not only would be better Christians but I believe we would increase the church’s numbers. I think too many non-believers are put off by our actions. When we act the same as everyone else how is someone to come to think there is something special about Christ? We need to continually act out our faith so others will want what we have.
Have a blessed day,